Daily Archives: 10:20 pm

Teaching Your Child to Break the Rules

In general, my kids are fairly good about following rules.
(Well, not really my rules, but your basic run-of-the-mill rules.)
Both of the big kids tend to get upset when they are even slightly chastised by a teacher.
(Once again, not so much when I chastise them, but you get the point.)

A few weeks into school, Lydia started having potty issues.
My child who potty trained easily and early.
The one who very rarely had accidents.
She would go down for nap time
And then empty the entire contents of her bladder while lying there wide awake on her cot.
And I do mean every single drop.
(The teacher had to move furniture and bring in the big mop and bucket.)

This happened several times within a matter of a few weeks.
I was baffled.

We asked her what was wrong.
We tried making her go potty at every available moment.
Her teacher was so wonderful about helping us figure out what the problem was.

In the end, we figured out that she was afraid to speak up.
They are told not to get up or talk during nap.
So, in her mind, she wasn’t even allowed to get up and ask to go potty.
Both her teacher and I tried over and over again to point out that if you need to go potty,
then you can get up and you can talk to the teacher!

We went over and over this until it finally sunk in.

Or so we thought.

{Fast-forward to today.}

Nap time is very near the end of school.
They have naps, then snacks and then pack up for home.

It was after they packed up and the bus riders left the room that the teacher noticed this:

“Lydia!  What happened to your face, babe?
Are those bug bites or what?
Come let me take a look at that.”

She crawled up into Mrs. H’s lap as Mrs. H investigated the mystery splotches.
Lydia confessed that Matthew* had pinched her multiple times during naptime.
(And obviously he pinched her pretty damn hard.)

(As a side note, Mrs. H felt horrible that she didn’t see it earlier
And that she didn’t have the opportunity to discuss it with Matthew, who was already on the bus.)

I feel so bad for my sweet girl.
She just lay there, getting the fool pinched out of her face without making a noise.
She didn’t get up.
She didn’t tell her teacher.
She didn’t even tell Matthew to stop.

My little rule follower.
My poor little rule follower.

It’s so hard to explain to her that there are exceptions to every rule.
When is it ok to break the rules?
When is is not ok to break the rules?

I think(at least I hope) we’ve covered all our bases for during naptime.
You must rest quietly unless you have to potty…
Or someone is hurting you in anyway…
Or if there is an emergency.

But I can’t come up with every scenario for every rule and go over it with her.
I can’t say that it’s never ok to go outside without telling me unless the house is on fire…
Or there is a stranger in the house…
Or something happens to Mommy and she needs help…

I cannot possibly imagine all the rules and all the exceptions to all the rules.
I cannot possibly even begin to explain all of this to her.
So how do I do it?
How do I teach my child when it’s ok to break the rules?
Somebody help me-
Before something worse than a few pinches on the face happens
And she silently lays there, following the rules.

*Not his real name